Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mid-Autumn Festival 2012

We'll be celebrating the mid-autumn festival (aka moon festival) with family this weekend. The holiday is called Chuseok in Korean, Tet in Vietnamese, and Tsukimi in Japanese. It's also known as the moon festival or Chinese Thanksgiving. It's a holiday where families gather, pray to our ancestors, as well as offer them food. And just like the North American Thanksgiving holiday, we too, load the dinner table with delicious food coma-inducing foods.

See what I mean? Let's take a closer look at some of the dishes, shall we?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homemade Che Dau


Mom made a Vietnamese sticky rice pudding with black-eyed beans aka che dau the other day.

She boiled one cup of sticky rice, sugar, black-eyed beans (rinsed from two cans), and water together. After the pot came to a boil, the heat was turned down to a gentle simmer. Mom was very happy with how it turned out. The pudding was crystal clear for once. It’s usually murky when she makes it, but my aunt (who is Vietnamese) told her the secret solution to the problem.

“You could sell this batch!” Mom proudly gloated from the kitchen. It’s quite rare when she’s actually excited about something, so I knew it must be good.

Apparently they call this dessert che dau in Cambodia too. The only difference is that the Cambodians mix the salted coconut milk in with the pudding; whereas, the Vietnamese serve the coconut milk on the side. Since Mom wanted to show off the clear pudding, she warmed up some coconut milk and seasoned it with a bit of salt in a separate pot.

To serve, you scoop out some of the sticky rice pudding and then drizzle a bit of coconut milk. It's all self-serve in our house (unless you're the guest, of course). We ate the thick pudding while it was still warm. Mmm…!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Italian-Inspired Meatballs and Pasta


The basil in our garden began to wilt in the wet weather. Instead of letting them go to waste, I made some Italian-inspired meatballs with them. Using the same concept as when I first created the Vietnamese-inspired meatballs (aka nem nuong), I just used Italian flavours and packed them into the meatballs.

Ground pork, basil, Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, sugar, and black pepper were all I used. The meatballs were briefly browned in a pan and then transferred to a pot. The pan was deglazed with some broth and then added to the pot, where tomatoes, garlic, and onions were simmering.

We cooked the rotini, combined the tomato sauce with the cooked pasta and browned meatballs in a casserole dish. Before the pasta was baked for twenty minutes, I sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs on top of the pasta.


I wished I made more meatballs. They were moist, tender, and the seasoning was spot on. We didn’t have any leftovers that night.


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